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Across the Bridge Theatricals


Joshua Williams Ryan Hamilton

Based on the Short Story by Book

Music & Lyrics





I. II. III. IV. Forward: Using the Study Guide Producer's Corner About the Authors About CANTERVILLE GHOST i. A Brief Synopsis ii. Cast of Characters iii. Musical Numbers The Life and Times of Oscar Wilde i. Biography ii. Wilde's Bon Mots (Oscariana) iii. Aesthetic Movement iv. Literary Contemporaries of Wilde Lesson One: HISTORY i. 1920s Chronology of Events ii. The Roaring `20s: What's Hot? iii. Art Deco Movement iv. History Exercises Lesson Two: LANGUAGE ARTS i. An Overview: Tapping into the Modern Wilde ii. Language Arts Exercises Lesson Three: MUSIC i. An Overview: A Fertile Ground for Creativity ii. Music Exercises iii. In-Depth: The Demo Theatre In Action i. Student Critics Program ii. Master Classes iii. Group Sales Resources i. Books ii. Stage iii. Music iv. Film v. Web









We are pleased to present the first edition of the CANTERVILLE GHOST Study Guide. CANTERVILLE GHOST is an energetic musical comedy full of sharp wit, glitz, suspense and drama; it's also a musical that explores the idea of rising above our cultural identity and embracing others on a human level. It affords its audience a chance to be both entertained and educated. This guide is meant to give educators an added teaching tool, using the theatre and CANTERVILLE GHOST as a medium to discuss the ideas presented in the show through history, language, and media studies. This guide offers background on CANTERVILLE GHOST and its creators, as well as lesson plans and exercises that encourage critical thinking, discussion and writing. As part of the curriculum, the producers of CANTERVILLE GHOST would like to give select students the opportunity to attend opening night in each city as press in order to review the show for their student or local newspaper. We realize the importance of bridging the gap between the classroom and stage. To participate, please contact your local theatre for more information. In addition, please check your local theatre for other educational events, including workshops and master classes presented in conjunction with CANTERVILLE GHOST. These events offer students the unique opportunity of interfacing with professional theatre artists and learning first-hand from some of the best of Broadway talent. We are excited to make this Study Guide available to you and your students. We hope it will help you to incorporate CANTERVILLE GHOST into your classroom.


© 2004 ATB Theatricals



In 2002, I hired Joshua Williams to be the musical director on a directing project of mine. In a pinch, we had to change shows mid-stream and my options were limited. Knowing Joshua wrote musicals, I asked if he had anything he'd be interested in having produced. He mentioned that he was starting a major rewrite with a new book writer, Ryan Hamilton, on a musical called CANTERVILLE GHOST. I asked him if the could have the rewrites done in two weeks. Two weeks later they handed me the script and we began rehearsals. Four weeks later we opened with a bare-bones set, wild costumes, and an energetic cast. Across the Bridge Theatricals optioned the rights to produce CANTERVILLE GHOST in the spring of 2003. We immediately recorded a demo CD under the talented musical direction of Mary-Mitchell Campbell. In June 2003, we produced an Equity staged reading of CANTERVILLE GHOST at the Manhattan Theatre Club Creative Center for industry professionals. Since the reading, the creative team of CANTERVILLE GHOST has worked tirelessly on rewrites, marketing and PR initiatives and fundraising. The October 2005 production at the SCERA will mark the first full realization of CANTERVILLE GHOST with fully designed costumes, sets and sound, along with new choreography and orchestrations. A visual and aural feast! I am excited to be at the helm of this rare breed of musical that will appeal and connect to children and adults alike. I hope that CANTERVILLE GHOST will spark your imagination the same way it has sparked mine. I am pleased to present the CANTERVILLE GHOST Study Guide; it offers many different activities and materials that are sure to bring the performing arts alive in your classroom.

Kevin Monk

Executive Producer Across the Bridge Theatricals


Joshua Williams Music/Lyrics

Joshua Williams began his career in the theatre at a very early age. His performances and choreography have been featured on stage and television in America, France, Germany, Poland, and Japan. In 1993, he was awarded the top national award for excellence in the arts by President Clinton and performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. Joshua has written numerous musicals and cabarets including Songs from Warsaw, Feel the Music, The Drummings and Canterville Ghost. Joshua's music was recently featured at the Brooklyn Film Festival in Annie Poon's short animated film, "Runaway Bathtub". Joshua received his Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in playwriting and directing. He recently relocated from New York City to Philadelphia where he lives with his wife Katie and his daughters Madeleine and Maja.


Ryan Hamilton Book

Ryan is a writer, humorist, and stand-up comedian. Although Canterville Ghost is his first foray into musical comedy, he has previously written plays, screenplays, sketch comedy, humor columns, and short essays. His work has been published in various local and regional publications, as well as on several websites, including The White Shoe Irregular ( and Bit and Bitter: The Workplace Alternative to Solitaire ( Ryan spent several years as a writer, performer and president in the sketch comedy troupe Divine Comedy ( Ryan holds a Bachelor's Degree from Brigham Young University in Applied Physics, with a minor in Mathematics. He currently resides in Chicago where he is working on a Masters Degree in Marketing at Northwestern University.

Executive Producer Kevin Monk Across the Bridge Theatricals Music Supervisor & Additional Music Tom Jensen Orchestrations Jeremy Lenz Graphic Design Tomasz Okreglicki


CANTERVILLE GHOST is a musical based on the Oscar Wilde novella by the same name. Set in the 1920s, it is the tale of a young American family moving into a medieval English manor haunted by a fine and respectable ghost of the grand tradition; an expert performer and master of his craft. Unfortunately for the ghost, modern American sensibility leaves little room for such nonsense as haunting. The story maintains the subtle wit and dry humor of the Wilde original, while adding a musical score with more than twenty original songs. It plays liberally with American and British customs, politics, and age-old stereotypes, lambasting both countries to riotous effect.


ACT ONE The Hiram and Lucretia Otis family is a good upstanding and very patriotic American family. Washington, their oldest son, has just returned from a stint in the army. Virginia, a charming girl, is fifteen going on sixteen. Lewis and Clark are the conniving nine-year old twins. They enjoy the comforts of life and the best of society in decadent 1920s New York where Art Deco skyscrapers and jazz music is all the rage. That is, until their lives are turned upside down by a surprise call from their father, who is in England on business. "We're moving to England!" The family scurries off to pack, leaving Virginia alone to wonder about the big move all the way across the ocean ("I'm Leaving Home"). Oscar and his fellow ghosts have been stuck in limbo. Four hundred years ago their master, Sir Simon, killed his wife. Now all of his former servants are cursed to haunt the Canterville Chase until Sir Simon is forgiven by a young innocent girl. Boredom has set in as the ghosts must continue to haunt year after year to no avail ("The Curse of Sir Simon"). When Oscar learns that the new tenants will be Americans he devises a plan in which he will disguise himself as the maid, Mrs. Umney ("Our Little Charade"). Upon arriving at the Chase, the Otis family is welcomed by Mrs. Umney and the "ghosts". They immediately notice Virginia. ("The Promise I"). The family is thoroughly nonplussed by the tale of a haunted house, but they don't take too kindly to the bloodstain on the parlor rug ("Out Damn Spot"). Upon the successful removal of the bloodstain, Lord Canterville and his nephew, Cecil, arrive to meet their new tenants. Cecil is immediately smitten with Virginia ("The Promise I"). Virginia is the key to the ghosts' redemption if they can only get her to forgive Sir Simon, who is busy planning his latest haunting campaign ("Keeping up the Appearances"). Virginia is getting ready for bed. She asks Mrs. Umney about the Canterville Chase after she notices the etching in the fireplace mantel. Mrs. Umney explains the curse ("The Promise II") and turns out the light. Cecil, unable to hold off one minute longer, has found a way to climb into Virginia's bedroom in hopes of winning her heart. Virginia tells him all about herself ("Anything"). Upon hearing the ruckus in Virginia's room, Mr. and Mrs. Otis invite Cecil to leave. He laments ("When You're Fifteen"). Sir Simon, as usual, begins his haunting routine. He is completely taken aback when his first victim, Virginia, replies to his chain rattling completely unabashed. He rushes off to his cellar in an embarrassed rage. With a little research he wonders out loud to Oscar if Virginia's lack of respect is due to the fact that she is American ("They Won't Dare"). Oscar sees his chance for freedom by pitting Sir Simon against the Otis family in a series of daring haunts ("Scare Suite"). Much to Oscar's glee, Sir Simon is a miserable failure. He has only managed to irritate the Otis Family. Now, if he can only rouse Sir Simon's pride and supply the perfect costume for one last


big hurrah, his plan should work. Meanwhile, Mr. Otis is tired and Washington is mystified by the yellow bloodstain in the parlor ("Four Hundred Years"). ACT TWO Sir Simon seems to have gained some ground. Mr. Otis is thoroughly tired, unable to sleep due to Sir Simon's terrible rasping and moaning. And the bloodstain has changed colors again--green. There must be a better way to take care of this "ghost" situation. He calls his family together for a meeting ("Take the Prize"). Virginia, horrified by the "capital" idea the family hatches to "catch the ghost" leaves the room. Washington and the twins plan their CAST OF CHARACTERS next move. Mrs. Otis, always meticulously The Ghosts focused, is planning a welcome party. Sir Oscar/Mrs. Umney Simon, in his cellar, muses over his fate and Former Maid his inability to scare ( " K e e p i n g up Former Cook Appearances reprise"). Virginia has found Former Gardner some solace from her family in the Chase's Former Priest garden. She is quickly found by Mrs. Umney, elated that with Virginia upset, her plan is Otis Family progressing nicely. She leaves Virginia with a Mrs. Lucretia Otis Mr. Hiram B. Otis letter from Cecil ("That's How I'll Know"). Washington Otis Sir Simon has reached the end of his rope, he Virginia Otis has been given notice to leave the premises Lewis Otis or be charged rent. It's all out war now ("A Clark Otis Model Man"), until Sir Simon is scared witless by the twins' pretend ghost set up in The Cantervilles the parlor. In the meantime, the spot is now Lord Canterville pink, much to Washington's dismay, and Cecil Duke Cecil Canterville (the Lord's nephew) is making plans to propose marriage to The Canterville Ghosts Virginia ("The Promise III"). Sir Simon has Sir Simon de Canterville decided, at the suggestion of Oscar, to speak Eleanor de Canterville (Sir Simon's wife) with this new ghost in hopes of joining forces ("When You're Fifteen reprise"). He soon The Chorus the townspeople of Ascot, England and realizes he has been foiled again--the ghost the ghosts of the past. is a fake. Oscar is quite pleased with himself as he prepares for Mrs. Otis' big party ("Our Dismal Charade reprise"). The guests are arriving and Mr. Otis is proud of his Americanized Chase. The guests begin to arrive and the past and present meet ("The Masked Waltz"). Washington decides to get the party going with a rousing and jazzy swing ("Movin' It"). Cecil has lost no time in securing a dance with Virginia and then manages to convince Virginia to steal away with him to her room. Virginia, a little excited and scared, wonders if maybe she should rejoin the party, but Cecil insists she stay with him ("Love"). Sir Simon has had enough, he can wait no longer; he will steal Virginia away from her family, maybe that will teach them a lesson ("Without Wings"). Virginia has disappeared right before Cecil's eyes. Her parents are deathly afraid for her safety as Mrs. Umney tries to hide her obvious delight with worry. They put together a search party. Virginia, managing to stay composed, realizes Sir Simon's desperation. She shows the ghost pity, but he resists her. The search for Virginia continues. Sir Simon is sure he is incapable of being forgiven. He tells his story to Virginia who begins to weep, fulfilling the promise. Virginia holds Sir Simon's hand and tells him he must now ask Eleanor, his wife, for forgiveness ("Fly Away"). Eleanor accepts him and they disappear into a bright light leaving Virginia all alone. Virginia realizes that somehow life has changed forever ("That's How I'll Know reprise"). In a burst of color and light, Virginia is back in the parlor where her family finds her. The curse is broken. At Sir Simon's funeral, Lord Canterville offers Eleanor's pearl necklace as a thank you for fulfilling the promise. Cecil beams with pride; Virginia has agreed to be his girlfriend. Mrs. Umney and the ghosts, unable to resist, reveal their true identities to the surprise of all the guests. And without any further adieu, they pull out all the stops for a rousing farewell to their former master, Sir Simon. Although Oscar makes sure he gets the last hurrah with a ride to heaven on a shiny star ("Take Him Home").



ACT ONE I'm Leaving Home The Curse of Sir Simon Our Little Charade The Promise I Out Damn Spot! The Promise I Keeping up Appearances The Promise II Anything When You're Fifteen They Won't Dare Scare Suite Four Hundred Years ACT TWO Take the Prize Keeping up Appearances rep That's How I'll Know A Model Man The Promise III When You're Fifteen rep Our Little Charade rep The Masked Waltz Movin' It Love? Without Wings Fly Away That's How I'll Know rep The Promise IV Finale--Take Him Home Mr. Otis, Mrs. Umney, Otis Family Sir Simon Virginia, The Chorus Oscar, Sir Simon The Ghosts/Chorus Sir Simon Oscar Company Washington, Cecil & Company Cecil, Virginia Sir Simon, The Ghosts/Chorus Virginia, Sir Simon, Eleanor, The Chorus Virginia, The Chorus The Ghosts/Chorus Oscar & Company Virginia Oscar, Sir Simon, The Ghosts Oscar, The Ghosts The Ghosts/Chorus Washington, Mrs. Umney, Otis Family The Ghosts/Chorus Sir Simon, Oscar, The Ghosts The Ghosts/Chorus Virginia, Cecil Virginia, Cecil Sir Simon, Oscar Instrumental Oscar, Sir Simon, The Ghosts/Chorus, Otis Family


OSCAR WILDE (1854-1900)

Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 and grew up in an intellectually bustling Irish household. His mother, Jane Francesca Elgee Wilde, was a poet who wrote under the pen name Speranza and who had a considerable following; his father, Sir William Wilde, was a renowned physician with an interest in myths and folklore. At Oxford he won a coveted poetry award and came under the influence of the late nineteenth century aesthetic movement. He found its notions of "art for art's sake" and dedicating one's life to art suitable to his temperament and talents. Oscar had a desire to make himself famous and set off to London to do just that. From 1878 to 1881 Oscar Wilde became well known for being well known despite having any substantial achievements to build on. He insinuated himself into the class of people he labeled as "the beautiful people", wore outrageous clothes, passed himself off as an art critic and aesthete, and built a reputation for saying shocking things and doing amusing ones. If one tells the truth, one is sure sooner or later to be found out. His natural wit and good humor endeared him to the art and theater world and through his lover Frank Miles he found easy entry into the cliques that frequented London's theater circuit and drawing rooms. He became a much-desired all-purpose party guest and, with his velvet coat, knee breeches, silk stockings, pale green tie, cane, shoulder-length hair, loose silk shirts and the lily he occasionally carried through Piccadilly Circus, much talked about and satirized. His popularity and flamboyance led to his being chosen as an advance publicity man for a new Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, Patience, that spoofed aesthetes like himself, and which paid him one third of the box office receipts. In 1882 he arrived in New York City and began a year long tour of North America. When a customs inspector asked him if he had anything to declare he replied, "Nothing but my genius." At 28 he lectured in 70 American cities on the arts and literature. His performances were as wildly popular as his audiences were varied: he spoke to Mormons in Salt Lake City, silver miners in Colorado, West Coast literati in San Francisco, farmers in Kansas, and swung through Ontario and Quebec. When he returned from America he had tired of being the Great Aesthete and returned to more conventional dress. He toured, wrote two unsuccessful plays and a well received collection of children's fairy tales, married, fathered two sons and took a position as editor of Woman's World, a monthly magazine for which he wrote literary criticism. Two years later he tired of journalism and journalists and returned to sparkling at parties and spending much of his time with friends and lovers, often stepping beyond the bounds of what was considered morally and socially proper for the time. In 1884, he married Constance Lloyd, the daughter of a Dublin barrister and a woman with financial resources. They moved into a home in the Chelsea section of London. From 1890 to 1895 Oscar Wilde reached the peak of his career, both as poet-playwright and social gadfly. His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray raised a storm of indignation to thinly veiled allusions to the protagonist's homosexuality. In the same year he came out with a well received volume of children's stories, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, and other Stories (includes Canterville Ghost), The House of Pomegranates and followed with a succession of enormously successful plays that reintroduced the comedy of manners to the English Stage: Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal


Husband and The Importance of Being Ernest, the latter being hailed as the first modern comedy in English. In 1892, he wrote Salome, which wasn't performed until 1894 by renowned actress Sarah Bernhardt in Paris. Wilde's plays served as a catalyst in creating the modern era. Collectively they "forced Victorian society to re-examine its hypocrisies and delineated with wit and humor, the arbitrariness of many moral and social taboos which, to the unreflective Victorian eye, appeared to be eternal. In 1895 the eighth Marquess of Queensberry, considered quite mad by even members of his immediate family, culminated his persistent public harassment of Wilde for his off-and-on sexual relationship with his son Lord Alfred Douglas. A libel suit filed by Wilde against the Marquess backfired; the Marquees was acquitted and Wilde's not too well camouflaged desire for men landed him two years of hard labor. Wilde resisted the urgings of his friends to leave for the Continent, where a more tolerant sexual mores prevailed, saying he should accept with dignity the consequences of his actions. The supreme vice is shallowness. While in prison he wrote a 30,000 word letter to Douglas, published after his death with the title De Profundis, that is regarded as possibly being his most important and mature statement on life and art in general and his own life and art in particular. In concluding, he tells Douglas, "You came to me to learn the Pleasures of Life and the Pleasures of Art. Perhaps I am chosen to teach you something much more wonderful, the meaning of Sorrow, and its beauty." After his release from prison, Wilde left England and wandered around Europe for the last three years of his life using the alias Sebastian Melmoth. He was a broken man who sank deeper into a reckless life of sex and absinthe which neither he nor long-time friends could extricate him. His one noteworthy piece from this period is The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a gripping account of prison brutality based on his own harrowing experiences with a plea for prison reform. He endured his final days in poor health and living on borrowed money and the kindness of sympathetic friends and hotel managers. In 1900, in Hotel d'Alsace in Paris, he died of cerebral meningitis after being baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. He is buried at Bageaux. And alien tears will fill for him Pity's long broken urn For his mourners will be outcast men And outcasts always mourn

Picture and text adapted from:

Wilde's Bon Mots


In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing. The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about. Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891 It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891 In this world, there are two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes. Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892 There is no sin except stupidity.

We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language. The Canterville Ghost, 1882 The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892 One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895 The public is wonderfully tolerant. everything except genius. The Critic as Artist, 1891 It forgives

The only duty we owe to history is to rewrite it. A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Consistency is the last refuge of the imaginative.




The Aesthetic Movement is a loosely defined movement in art and literature in later nineteenth century Britain. Generally speaking, it represents the same tendencies that Symbolism or Decadence stood for in France, and may be considered the English branch of the same movement. It belongs to the anti-Victorian reaction and had post-Romantic roots. It took place in the late Victorian period from around 1868 to 1901, and is generally considered to have ended with the trial of Oscar Wilde. The English decadent writers were deeply influenced by Walter Pater and his essays published in 1867-1868, in which he stated that life had to be lived intensely, following an ideal of beauty. Decadent writers used the slogan, coined by the philosopher Victor Cousin and promoted by Theophile Gautier in France, "Art for Art's Sake" (L'art pour l'art) and asserted that there was no connection between art and morality.

Wilde's Contemporaries in Great Britain: Bram Abraham Stoker (1847-1912) Frankenstein Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) Sherlock Holmes Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Heart of Darkness George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Pygmalion W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911) The Mikado

The artists and writers of the Aesthetic Movement tended to hold that the Arts should provide refined sensuous pleasure, rather than convey moral or sentimental messages. As a consequence, they did not accept John Ruskin and Matthew Arnold's utilitarian conception of art as something moral or useful. Instead they believed that Art does not have any didactic purpose, it need only be beautiful. The Aesthetes developed the cult of beauty which they considered the basic factor in art. Life should copy Art, they asserted. The main characteristics of the movement were: suggestion Wilde's Contemporaries in America: rather than statement, sensuality, massive use of symbols, and synaesthetic effects--that is, correspondence between Stephen Crane (1871-1900) words, colors, and music. Aestheticism had its forerunners in John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and among Pre-Raphaelites. In Britain the best representatives were Oscar Wilde and Algernon Charles Swinburne, both influenced by the French Symbolists. Artists associated with the Aesthetic Movement include James McNeill Whistler and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Writers include Oscar Wilde. The movement had an influence on interior Wilde's Contemporaries Elsewhere: design. `Aesthetic' interiors were characterized by the use of such things as peacock feathers and blue-and-white Henrik Ibsen (Norway, 1828-1906) china. This aspect of the movement was satirized in A Doll's House Punch magazine, and in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta Henryk Sienkiewicz (Poland, 1846-1916) Patience. Quo Vadis

Leo Tolstoy (Russia, 1828-1910) Anna Karenina The Red Badge of Courage Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) The Secret Garden Henry James (1843-1916) Daisy Miller Edith Wharton (1862-1937) Age of Innocence Mark Twain (1835-1910) Tom Sawyer

This text quoted directly from: (GNU Free Documentation License)



1920 · · · · · · · · ·

Prohibition: 18th Amendment to the Constitution Bubonic Plague in India First Commercial Radio Broadcast Aired Harlem Renaissance Begins League of Nations Established Pancho Villa Surrenders Women Granted the Right to Vote in U.S. Warren Harding elected president 19th Amendment grants women's suffrage

1921 · · · · · ·

"Fatty" Arbuckle Scandal Extreme Inflation in Germany Irish Free State Proclaimed Lie Detector Invented Congress enacts immigration quotas Washington Naval Conference

1922 · · · · · ·

Kemal Atatürk Founds Modern Turkey King Tut's Tomb Found Michael Collins Killed in Ambush Mussolini Marches on Rome The Reader's Digest Published Sinclair Lewis writes Babbitt

1923 · · · · · ·

Charleston Dance Becomes Popular Hitler Jailed After Failed Coup Talking Movies Invented Teapot Dome Scandal Time Magazine Founded Harding dies, succeeded by Coolidge

1924 · · · · 1926 · · · · 1928 · · · · · · ·

First Olympic Winter Games J. Edgar Hoover Appointed FBI Director Leopold and Loeb Murder a Neighbor Out of Boredom V.I. Lenin Dies

1925 · · ·

Flapper Dresses in Style Hitler Publishes Mein Kampf The Scopes (Monkey) Trial (Tennessee Evolution trial)

A.A. Milne Publishes Winnie-the-Pooh Houdini Dies After Being Punched Robert Goddard Fires His First Liquid-Fuel Rocket A Woman Swims the English Channel

1927 · · · · · 1929 · · · ·

Babe Ruth Makes Home-Run Record (60) BBC Founded The First Talking Movie, The Jazz Singer Lindbergh Flies Solo Across the Atlantic Sacco and Venzetti Executed

Bubble Gum Invented First Academy Awards First Mickey Mouse Cartoon First Oxford English Dictionary Published Kellogg-Briand Treaty Outlaws War Penicillin Discovered Hoover elected president

Byrd and Bennett Fly Over South Pole Car Radio Invented New York Stock Market Crashes St. Valentine's Day Massacre



Price of 1-gallon of Milk · $.58

U.S. Population · 122 million

Children's Toys · Baby Doll that says "mama" Average Annual Income · Paper Dolls · $1,574 · Teddy Bears · Metal Trucks Popular Children's Books Cultural Crazes · Tinker Toys · "Winnie the Pooh" · Marathon Dancing · Erector Sets Fashion · "Bambi" · Charleston · Erte · "Dr. Doolittle" · Mahjongg · The Bob · "Velveteen Rabbit" · Flag Pole Sitting · Short Hemlines · Ouija board · Cloche Hats Favorite Cartoon Characters · Crossword Puzzles · Knickers · Mickey Mouse · Leather Jackets New Foods · Little Orphan Annie · Raccoon Coats · Welch's Grape Jelly · Felix Cat · Wrigley's chewing gum · Eskimo pie Famous People · Amelia Earhart · Gertrude Ederle Famous Artists · Annie Oakley · Pablo Picasso · Albert Einstein · Wassily Kandinsky · Al Capone Popular Composers/Lyricists · Salvador Dali · Harry Houdini · Duke Ellington · Will Rogers · George Gershwin · · · · Cole Porter Richard Rogers Lorenz Hart Oscar Hammerstein II Favorite Songs · "It Had to Be You" · "Stardust" · "Swanee" · "Rhapsody in Blue" · "I Got Rhythm" · "Let's Misbehave" · "Singin' in the Rain" Popular Children's Games · Marbles · Jump Rope · Roller Skates · Statue Favorite Sports · Tennis · Golf · Baseball · Football (college)

Innovations · Model A · Band-Aids · Kleenex · Penicillin · Zippers · "Talkies" (movies with sound) Popular Movies · "The Jazz Singer" · "Treasure Island" · "Ben Hur"

Favorite Actors · Rudolph Valentino On Broadway · Clara Bow · "Ziegfield Follies" · Mary Pickford · "No, No Nanette" 1925 · Douglas Fairbanks · "Showboat" 1927 · Al Jolson · "Lady Be Good" · Charles Chaplin · Buster Keaton · Gloria Swanson Sports Heroes · Babe Ruth · Jack Dempsey Main Resource:

Popular Writers & Books · Ernest Hemingway Farewell to Arms · F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby · Langston Hughes (poet) · Edna St. Vincent Millay (poet) · Edith Wharton Age of Innocence



The period termed "art deco" manifested itself roughly between the two world wars, or 1920 to 1939. During the years when Art Deco as a style was in fashion the term Art Deco was not known. Modernistic or Style Moderne was used. The term was coined in the 60's by Bevis Hillier, a British art critic and historian. The name Art Deco was derived from the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Modernes, held in Paris. Art Deco is widely used in many areas as a decoration style, such as architecture, interiors, furnishing, fine arts, handmade crafts, posters, and industrial design. If one is looking for an appropriate word to describe overall Art Deco as a design style, 'Speed' would be the best word for it. "During the Great Depression, a second Art Deco period, buildings usually have very little ornamentation and have a very flat, machine-like look" (2). In fact, Art Deco was influenced by the modern art movements of Cubism, Futurism, and Constructivism; however, it also took some ideas from the ancient geometrical design styles, such as Egypt, Assyria and Persia. Art Deco designers use stepped forms, rounded corners, triple-striped decorative elements and black decoration. Most importantly, they are all in geometrical order and simple formats. With the increasing of machine power, Art Deco also used machine-like materials.

Pictures & Text Adapted from:

1. 2. Klunk, Melissa. "Art Deco: Americans Last National Style." (12 Nov 2000) 3.



Discussion: 1. Oscar Wilde died a lone man in 1901. Do you think his ideas would have been more accepted in the 1920s? In what ways were Wilde's ideas and artistic goals "ahead of his time"? How do you think Wilde would fit into today's society? 2. Oscar Wilde is famous for his one-line quotes, which he often debuted in conversation. What sort of individual do you think Wilde would be based on these quotes? Why are the quotes still timely today? 3. The 1920s represented a major shift in technology. How do you think these changes affected society? How did they affect America's role in the international community? How did they change the role of women in society? How did these changes affect the stock market? 4. Prohibition is often synonymous with the "Roaring `20s". What do you think led to Prohibition? How did Prohibition affect American culture? How do you think other cultures viewed America under prohibition? How has Prohibition permeated today's culture? Individual Activities: 1. Pick a name from the "What's Hot" section. Find an art piece, book, composition, etc. that was created by one of these people and study it, read it, or listen to it. 2. Imagine that you were a young person just arriving in New York City in the 1920s. Write a letter back home describing what you may see or experience. 3. Find something in your home that may have been created in the 1920s. List the things that define it as an object from this time period. Then choose an item that is current. Re-design this object to fit the style of the 1920s. Group Activities: 1. Choose an event from the 1920s chronology. As a group, research the event. Find out what caused the event and what the repercussions of the event were. Prepare a short presentation for your class with the information you find. 2. Create a piece of art that would fit the Art Deco movement of the 1920s. Discuss as a group if your piece of art would fit the tenets of the Aesthetic Movement. Present your art to the class. 3. Create a scene for play set in the 1920s. Base your scene on an event from the 1920s chronology. Use 3 of Oscar Wilde's quotes in your scene.



Tapping into the Modern Wilde Adapting a piece of literature for the stage can be daunting, especially when that work is by Oscar Wilde, master of wit and language. Add to that the peculiarities of Victorian fiction and the Aesthetic Movement which both often left believability and reality by the wayside opting instead for whimsy and colorful characters to make a strong thematic or moral statement, and the adaptor's task becomes very difficult indeed. Although with Wilde, nothing is only surface deep or perfectly moralistic; his effortless writing and overly simple plots are often only the camouflage of complex ideas and nuanced characters. This uncanny ability is the reason for Wilde's enduring popularity and the reason we chose to adapt CANTERVILLE GHOST in the first place. While certainly a fairy tale, CANTERVILLE GHOST is also audaciously political as well as spiritual and philosophical. It's why the show appeals to children and adults; something we wanted to keep intact. We had to find ways to keep the Wilde spirit alive and "fill in the blanks" to make the plot and characters believable to a modern-day audience. One of the first decisions we had to make when adapting CANTERVILLE GHOST into a musical was whether or not to keep the story in its original setting, the late 1800s. At first, we entertained the idea of setting the story in the "present". All too quickly we realized that doing this would only date itself more quickly. Our society changes too swiftly--the technology of a cell phone could be clunky and laughable ten years from now, something that would only disrupt our telling of the story. And yet we wanted to tap into an era that felt more modern and accessible. After some discussion and a good amount of trial and error, it was decided to reset the story in the 1920s. The "Roaring `20s" offered a simple solution--a decade of change, progress and modernity trapped in time! It gave us the framework to "fill in the blanks" and expand a short story into a two hour musical. Musically, we didn't want to be tied down by one particular style. The score was already shaping up to be an eclectic mix of pop and jazz music with classical overtones. With our decision to set the show in the `20s, the jazz suddenly felt at home in the "jazz age", the pop suggested the modern-ness we were aiming for, and the classical evoked Gilbert & Sullivan, contemporaries of Wilde. It seemed that we had covered all our bases while staying true to the telling of the story. Visually, the 1920s represented a vibrant period of American design and technology. America was having fun and flaunting its success to the world after World War I. Art Deco skyscrapers were dominating the New York skyline and airplanes made Europe suddenly accessible to Americans. It was easier to compare cultures in person--a perfect setting to explore Wilde's comparison of British and American acumen and culture. The final link to adapting the story came with adding a new character to Wilde's already colorful cast. We needed to create a friend and foil to Sir Simon de Canterville and the Otis Family, someone connected to the past and present able to set the plot in motion. We also needed a character that would add to the physical humor of the world we were creating, something that would translate well on stage. From these needs, Oscar was born. This character, based on Oscar Wilde and his mythical status, gave us another


way to tap into Wilde's wry humor. Oscar is a true aesthetic--a man of fashion and style, a man with progressive ideas, a man stifled by societal mores--much like Wilde himself. With these elements in place, the story made the jump from page to stage. After many different reincarnations and countless drafts, we hope CANTERVILLE GHOST, the musical, is a successful example of adaptation--fresh and new and still true to its original spirit.


Discussion: 1. What problems did the authors face in adapting CANTERVILLE GHOST from a short story to a musical? How were the authors able to overcome these problems? 2. The authors chose to reset CANTERVILLE GHOST in the 1920s. What were some of the reasons they gave for doing this? Imagine the story set in another period. Find reasons why this time period may or may not work. 3. Why did the authors choose to add another character to CANTERVILLE GHOST? Based on Oscar Wilde's biography, what sorts of characteristics or traits would you expect Oscar to have? What types of things would Oscar do or say in the musical? 4. In what ways is the Aesthetic Movement visible in Oscar Wilde's writing? What problems do the tenets of this movement create in adapting CANTERVILLE GHOST into a play? Do the tenets of the Aesthetic Movement and Victorian principles compete against each other? Individual Activities: 1. CANTERVILLE GHOST was one of many stories in "Lord Arthur Saville's Crime, and Other Stories". Choose another of these stories and adapt it or an element of it into a short scene or play. 2. Write a treatment for a play based on a story or book of your choice. A treatment includes character descriptions, and a short scene-by-scene breakdown, with emphasis on important plot points. 3. Choose a story and re-imagine it as a play. Write a short teaser or summary meant to entice someone to see your play. Group Activities: 1. Read the short story CANTERVILLE GHOST as a group. Write down the names of each character in the play and their personal traits. Discuss which traits are obvious and those that may be ambiguous. Why did Oscar Wilde choose to focus on some traits and not others? 2. Read the short story CANTERVILLE GHOST as a group. Write down the plot points (each of the major actions in the story). What holes exist in the plot? What explanations are lacking in the character's motives? How would you "fill in the blanks"? 3. Oscar Wilde is noted for his witty remarks and one-liners. As a group see if you can create your own. Look for ways to create double entendres (an expression or term liable to have more than one interpretation). Share these lines with the class.



A Fertile Ground for Creativity

The most important consideration to make when writing a musical is whether or not the source material can be set to or enhanced by music. Technically you could probably sing the phone book, but that would hardly be worthwhile! A composer is looking for characters with conflict and a story in which music can develop the action, or plot. Musicals, by their very nature, tend to be bigger in terms of passion and ideas than a straight play, because music augments emotion. It is necessary then to find a story that is larger-than-life, or a story that benefits from such an interpretation. Choosing to adapt CANTERVILLE GHOST as a musical was easy. Oscar Wilde himself was a larger-than-life individual, not to mention his stories and plays. Fanciful and colorful, his stories lend themselves effortlessly to music. What's more, the plot holes that caused difficulty in writing the libretto were perfect opportunities for composing songs. Inner-thought and emotion can easily be expressed through music. Finally, CANTERVILLE GHOST is story about ghosts--a perfect world to infuse with music! The first step in creating the score for CANTERVILLE GHOST was to find musical ideas that expressed each character. Some of these ideas carried into the score, turning into actual songs. A good example of this is "The Promise". Based on the poem found in the short story, the musical theme that became the poem's setting shows up repeatedly in the musical and within other songs. It's a theme that suggests innocence in the protagonist, Virginia, and melancholy in the antagonist, Sir Simon. Another example of a musical theme that turned into a song was "The Masked Waltz". Written in the meters 5/4 and 3/4, the song whirls back and forth between an odd, offkilter meter into a traditional waltz. The 5/4 section was based on a theme that evoked the death of Sir Simon's wife Eleanor. Its frenzied pacing also became the genesis for incorporating a masquerade ball into the show. The 3/4 section is more stately and calls to mind a fancy ball or dinner. Combining the two as part of one song created both ambience and a wonderful dichotomy in Sir Simon's character--calm and feral. The second step in creating the score to CANTERVILLE GHOST was to find moments in the story that music could help "push along the plot". These songs are less about character and more about action. Oftentimes, music can express action more quickly or dramatically than doing it in real time. One of the first action songs written for this show was "Out Damn Spot". The Otis family has just arrived at the Canterville Chase when they notice the unsightly bloodstain on their parlor rug; it must be removed immediately! "Out Damn Spot" quite literally becomes the "get the stain out" song and heightens the comedy inherent in this action. At the same time, it introduces information about Sir Simon's hand in Eleanor's death. Whether to develop character or action, music is very powerful. Each melodic or rhythmic motif has the power to suggest far more than mere words or movement. Combine them and you start to realize the power of the musical. For that reason, it's important for the composer to be in tune with every element of the story.


Over 40 songs were written for the show, many of which have been cut. Themes have been twisted and morphed into new songs. Complete lyrics have been substituted for new ones. All of it fine tuning. CANTERVILLE GHOST has been a "work in progress" for many years, changing and growing into a full-fledged musical, but has proven itself a fertile ground for musical creativity.


Discussion: 1. What does the author suggest is the most important consideration in adapting a story into a musical? Come up with stories from books, plays or films you've seen that might make a good musical. Discuss why. 2. The composer started out writing theme music for each character. What type of traits, both physical and emotional would you look for? How are these traits translated into music? 3. Songs that are sung by one character (monologue) often delve deeper than dialogue can. Discuss how pop music may do the same. Give examples. (These pop songs may also have music videos. What do these visual images represent?) 4. An action song helps "push the plot". Think of recent films or television shows you have viewed? Do they have an action song? (Another variation of an action song is a montage scene, wherein many scenes are shown within the length of one song.) In what ways might these action songs from films and TV differ from a musical? How are they the same? Individual Activities: 1. Create a short lyric that says something about you, or describes an emotion that you may feel. Try to set it to music by humming or using an instrument. 2. Watch your favorite film. See if you can identify each main character's musical theme. 3. Find a favorite song. Create a scene or montage using this song as your guide. Group Activities: 1. Gather together instruments. Have two group members perform a scene while the rest of the group plays music as underscore. How does it effect what's being said? Try different variations. 2. Find a scene in a straight play. As a group, discuss ways you could musicalize an action or moment in the scene. Write out your ideas of how the song would sound and prepare sample lyrics. 3. Choose a favorite song. Find an action that matches the rhythm and melody of the music and uses everyone in the group. Present your action with music in front of the class. Can they figure out what you are doing? In-Depth: The Demo As part of the Study Guide, you have received a free demonstration CD of CANTERVILLE GHOST. A "demo" is a way for the show's writers to present their work to producers and theater directors. These demos usually only include five or six songs with vocals and piano only. It's important for people to be able to hear the music in its simplest form, so they can create their own vision of the complete show.


Activity: Listen to the demo. Can you figure out what character or characters are singing in each song? Can you pick out any musical themes? How do you think the songs will be orchestrated? What instruments will be used? How do you envision the show based on these songs? What kind of sets and costumes will be used? How would you direct the show? (If you have already seen the show, discuss how the demo and the actual show differ.)



Media | Demo

Featuring an eclectic jazz, pop, and classic Broadway score of more than twenty original songs, CANTERVILLE GHOST is already brimming with praise... "Stylistically diverse...yet original." (Dziennik Zachodni) "A wonderful score, great lyrics...a hilarious song and dance." ( "Perfect material for a catchy production." (Trybuna Slaska) ****

1. I'm Leaving Home (Virginia) mp3

Virginia, 14 years old, is leaving her home in America for a new life with her family in England. She's excited and nervous; she can't wait to embark on a new adventure at the curious old manor her father has purchased, the supposedly haunted Canterville Chase. 2. Take the Prize (Mr. Otis & Otis Family, Mrs. Umney) mp3

Mr. Otis is pragmatic and proudly American; he is clearly not superstitious. But when he starts to lose sleep from the constant clanging of chains in the hallway, the hideous peals of laughter in the belfry, and the hacking coughs on the stairway, not to mention the bloodstain that continuously reappears in the parlor in different colors, he has had quite enough. If there is indeed a ghost he must do what any good businessman would do, turn his little ghost dilemma into an asset. 3. Love? (Cecil & Virginia) mp3

Cecil, Duke of Cheshire, is a very persistent 15-year-old boy. He is quite sure he has fallen in love with young Virginia and has made his intentions of marriage quite clear to anyone who will listen. In fact, Cecil has already proposed marriage more than half a dozen times. Flattered and a little annoyed, Virginia wonders if Cecil even knows

what true love is.

4. Without Wings (Sir Simon)


Sir Simon de Canterville has been trapped between life and death for four hundred years, forced to haunt Canterville Chase. Consumed by guilt for the horrible deed he perpetrated, he yearns to be forgiven and released from the chains that bind him to the earth. Only a young girl, someone as innocent as his dear wife, can unlock death's door. 5. That's How I'll Know (Virginia) mp3

Imagine young Virginia's surprise when she quite unexpectedly bumps into the ghost of Sir Simon in the sewing room! And who would've expected such a resigned and depressed specter, one who had caused such great distress to her family only days before. When Virginia agrees to follow Sir Simon into his dark past with hopes that she can fulfill a certain promise, she never considers that her life will completely change forever. 6. Take Him Home (Oscar, Full Cast) mp3

Sir Simon, now forgiven, receives a proper gentleman's burial. His already dead butler, Oscar, is rather sad to see him go--to whom shall he now offer his fashion tips and sage advice? But Oscar is always one to seize upon an opportunity--this is his chance to take center stage, to shine and sparkle like the true star he is. Indeed, with Sir Simon already gone, it is Oscar who makes the final grand exit.

...a DRAMATIC musical COMEDY!

© 2002 ATB All rights reserved.



Student Critics

The Student Critics Program is a program created for high school students (freshmanseniors). Students who are chosen to participate in this program will attend a production of CANTERVILLE GHOST in order to write a review for publication in their local daily newspaper. Reviews will also be posted in the theater lobby's "Critics Corner" and some will be chosen to appear online at Participants will attend a special master class led by a local panel of theatre critics to help develop their writing and critical thinking skills. This opportunity will not only encourage students to think, write and share their ideas, it will help build informed theatre audiences for the future.

Master Classes

The Master Class program is intended to bring students together with theatre professionals. Students will have the opportunity to get a "behind-the-scenes" look at a professional theatre production. They will learn about how CANTERVILLE GHOST was developed and created and be able to ask questions of the creative team and cast. In addition, master classes in movement, acting and voice will be organized in conjunction with your local production of CANTERVILLE GHOST. Students can sign up to participate, learning directly from the creative team and cast.

* Master Classes can be individualized based on a group's needs. Master Classes can be held at the theatre where CANTERVILLE GHOST is playing or, if organized in advance, on location at your school.

Group Sales

As part of our education initiative, the producers have offered to give student discounts through their Group Sales department. School groups 20+ can receive 20% off a full price ticket to CANTERVILLE GHOST. These groups can also request special postperformance Q&A sessions, giving students a unique opportunity to ask questions while the performance is fresh in their mind. To order group tickets, call your local Groups Hotline at ______________________ or go online and fill out a Group Reservation form at




The Canterville Ghost Canterville Ghost, the musical (an illustrated story) Kevin Monk, illustrated by Annie Poon based on original story by Oscar Wilde Xlibris The Canterville Ghost and Other Stories Oscar Wilde Dover Publications Spooky Classics for Children (Audio Cassette) Jim Weiss (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde) Greathall Productions Other Works by Oscar Wilde Complete Works of Oscar Wilde: Stories, Plays, Poems and Essays Oscar Wilde, Vyvyan Holland Dover Publications Oscar Wilde's Wit & Wisdom Oscar Wilde, Vyvyan Holland Dover Publications Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde HarperCollins Publishers The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde Peter Raby (Editor) Cambridge University Press


Canterville Ghost, the musical The Libretto & Score (available online at ATB Theatricals Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde Moises Kaufman Vintage (1998)


Canterville Ghost, the musical short

created by Annie Poon

ATB Theatricals (2005) The Canterville Ghost (animated) Koch Vision Entertainment (2002) Classic Tales ­ The Canterville Ghost

starring Richard Kiley

Ghadar & Associates (1997) The Canterville Ghost Bfs Entertainment & Multimedia (1997) The Canterville Ghost

starring Patrick Stewart, Neve Campbell

On Oscar Wilde The Wit and Wisdom of Oscar Wilde Ralph Keyes Gramercy Books Oscar Wilde Richard Ellmann Vintage Other The Aesthetic Adventure William Gaunt West Richard

Hallmark Home Entertainment (1996) The Canterville Ghost

starring Charles Laughton

Warner Studios (1944) The Canterville Ghost

starring Sir John Gielgud

Columbia/TriStar Studios (1986) The Canterville Ghost (animated) Family Home Entertainment (1984)

24 Web

The Musical The Canterville Ghost Online The 1920s Canterville Ghost, the musical Original Cast Recording (2005) ATB Theatricals Canterville Ghost, the musical "the demo" ATB Theatricals


More Oscar Wilde on Film

The Importance of Being Earnest

starring Rupert Everett, Reese Witherspoon

Buena Vista (2002) On Oscar Wilde (official Oscar Wilde Website) (online editions of Wilde's works) Theatre Resources Other An Ideal Husband

starring Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore

Miramax Home Entertainment (1999) Wilde *

starring Stephen Fry & Jude Law

Columbia TriStar (1998)

* Not appropriate for children.

For more information please contact: ACROSS THE BRIDGE THEATRICALS [646] 209-1825 [email protected]


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